Rising encrypted app Signal is down in China – TechCrunch

Chinese users of instant messenger signals knew that good times would not last long. The app, used for encrypted conversations, is not available in mainland China until the morning of March 16, a test by TechCrunch shows. The app’s website has been banned in mainland China since March 15, according to censorship tracking website Greatfire.org.

The signal could not be immediately reached for comment.

The encrypted chat app was one of the few western social networks that remained accessible in China without the use of virtual private networks. The likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have long been blocked. In some way, the ban is a badge of honor, a sign of a foreign app reaching a substantial user base in China that attracts the attention of local authorities.

The signal is available to download on Apple’s China App Store until March 16, a sign that Apple has not received a government order to remove the app, which slowly lands among China’s tech-savvy, privacy-conscious users. Is achieving The app is 4.9 out of 5 out of 37,000 ratings on the Chinese App Store.

Android stores in China are operated by a group of third-party Chinese tech firms, which are strictly compliant with local sensors and do not list signals. Google Play is unavailable in the country.

App analytics firm Sensor Tower told TechCrunch on March 16 that the iOS version of Signal has been installed to close to 510,000 in China to date and recently surpassed 100 million downloads on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

Signal and rival telegram Has seen a surge in downloads Panic spread to users following WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy in January. While this impact is limited in China, where Tencent’s WeChat has commanded a formidable stake in social networking with 1.1 billion monthly users, both Signal and Telegram have seen Small user upticks in china.

As of January, Telegram had approximately 2.7 million installs on China’s App Store, compared to 458,000 downloads for Signal and 9.5 million times for WhatsApp. Like Signal, both Telegram and WhatsApp still exist on the China App Store, although access requires a virtual private network.

China’s elaborate Great Firewall has made many Internet users experts on the censorship perimeter. App Bain is often layered as a clubhouse case show.

While the drop-in audio app was not found on the Chinese App Store, users discovered ways to install it in the foreign app store and use it freely without tools to fight censorship until the app’s API was blocked . even after that, China-based users realized they could once enter a chat room via a VPN, as the clubhouse’s audio technology provider Agora is accessible in China.